TALENT IRRIGATION DISTRICT NEWSLETTER – Spring 2003
YEARLY WATER USER MEETING
The Yearly Water User Meeting has been scheduled for THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2003, AT 6:00 P.M. AT THE TALENT COMMUNITY HALL LOCATED AT 206 EAST MAIN STREET, TALENT, OREGON 97540. The purpose of this Public Meeting will be for you to meet the Board of Directors and discuss with them any issues, of a general nature, that are important to you and the District.
CURRENT WATER SUPPLY AND COMPARISON TO PRIOR YEARS
The following is a snow pack and precipitation comparison taken from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) reports dated April 1st, 2001, 2002 and 2003. The percentages are accumulated from the beginning of each respective water year.
2001 = 28% of average
2002 = 116% of average
2003 = 65 % of average
2001 = 47% of average
2002 = 93% of average
2003 = 97 % of average
The following is a reservoir elevation comparison as of April 1st of 2001, 2002 and 2003:
2001 34,618 af = 57% capacity
2002 23,461 af = 39% capacity
2003 28,492 af = 47 % capacity
2001 11,826 af = 36% capacity
2002 5,820 af = 36% capacity
2003 9,565 af = 59 % capacity
2001 25,580 af = 66% capacity
2002 29,670 af = 76% capacity
2003 37,640 af = 97 % capacity
The District will continue to allow 3” irrigations per rotation. This calculates the amount of time required to irrigate an acre of ground based on the flow delivered. If you are curious about the flow of water you are receiving and there is no measuring device on your system, give the office a call and we will set up a time to measure the actual flows.
The District staff will continue to enforce the no run-off policy again this year. If you observe waste, call the District office so the Ditch Riders can investigate and rectify the situation.
Water users should call and order the water at least 24 hours in advance and call in shut-offs at least 12 hours in advance of the time you will be done with the water. This notice allows the Ditch Rider time to get the next person set-up to use the water or, if there is no demand at that time, put the water back in the system to reduce outflows from the reservoirs. The calls into the office are not necessary if you are on an established rotation schedule that the Ditch Rider monitors. Water users should stay in contact with their Ditch Rider and others on their rotation schedules. Good communication is key to the efficient operation of the District.
All private head ditches and laterals are to be kept clean and free of debris so there is no restriction in water flow. The District will not allow the over flooding of certain portions of land to unreasonable depths to irrigate other portions of land. Please keep all sprinkler nozzles in good working order.
DITCH RIDER ASSIGNMENTS
This Season the Ditch Rider line up is as follows:
- ASHLAND CANAL – ROGER GODARD
- EAST CANAL – UPPER PORTION – ROBERT DERRY
- EAST CANAL – LOWER PORTION – SAM CAMP
- TALENT CANAL – GORDON PENDLETON
- WEST CANAL – KEVAN KERBY
- MC DONALD CANAL – KEVAN KERBY
During the irrigation season the District office is open to receive water orders from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. On the weekends, there is an answering machine, on the office telephone number 535-1529 where water orders can be left. The answering machine is checked at 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with the calls accumulated to that time being distributed to the ditch riders. If you call the 535-1529 number and the line continues to ring and the answering machine does not pickup, it means that the answering machine is busy and you should hang up and call back in a few minutes. For after-hour’s emergencies the phone number to call is 770-0315. The emergency answering service will contact the District’s emergency response person if your situation constitutes an emergency. An emergency is a situation where property damage is happening or is imminent, not a lack of water or a water order. The emergency answering service will not contact the emergency response person for a water order or for lack of water.
The District is looking into acquiring an NPDES permit to allow chemical usage this season, however, the cost could be prohibitive. The District will only apply for a permit if we can comply with the conditions set out by the permit. With this in mind, the District will probably not be able to use chemicals to control moss in the canals this year. We will most likely be controlling the moss by mechanical means. This means that demossing operations will be the same as last year. The Ditch Riders will try to notify the water users on their rides prior to the start of each demossing operation. The problem that the District has in notifying water users ahead of time is the short time frame due to the rapid rate of moss growth in certain sections of the canals. The moss growth is very sporadic and is usually worse in certain sections of the canals.
The District has built additional screens this year and will continue to experiment with them to find the best alternative to lessen the plugging of screens and nozzles.
UPDATE ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT (ESA) SECTION 7 CONSULTATION AND POTENTIAL LEGAL ACTION
As reported in previous newsletters, the Talent, Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation Districts entered into pre-consultation activities with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act to prepare a Biological Assessment (BA) for all three Districts. The decision to prepare a Biological Assessment was to establish an environmental baseline for the Districts. The Biological Assessment is a biologist’s view of how the Districts’ operations impact endangered species and plants within our area of operation.
The Bureau is charged with writing the BA and releasing it to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) who will review the BA and issue a Biological Opinion (BO). The BO either finds “no jeopardy” for the listed species or plants in the Districts area of operation, or it will find that the species or plants have “jeopardy”. If NMFS and USFWS find there is “jeopardy”, then the Districts’ will enter into negotiations for mitigation of the Districts impact upon that particular species or plant. Once mitigation is agreed to, NMFS will then issue the Districts an Incidental Take Permit. The Incidental Take Permit protects the Districts from the threat of citizen’s lawsuits for the Districts impact upon the species or plants in its day-to-day operations.
On January 30, 2003 William Carpenter, on behalf of the Oregon Natural Resource Council (ONRC) and the Northcoast Environmental Center filed a 60-day Notice of Intent against the Bureau of Reclamation. The Notice of Intent was filed in part, because the Bureau of Reclamation has not completed the consultation process for the Rogue Basin. The Bureau started work on the consultation process over two years ago, however, they have not proceeded with its’ completion in a timely manner. The Bureau continues to work on the Rogue Basin BA and as the chapters are drafted, the irrigation districts are meeting with the Bureau to give their input on the information. The proposed date for completion of the final BA is sometime later this year.
The 60-day Notice of Intent mentions the Rogue Basin’s annual average diversion of approximately 30,000 acre-feet of water from the Klamath Basin to the Rogue Basin. To give you an idea of how much water this is, it is equal to about one-half of the water in Howard Prairie Lake when it is completely full. It is also about one-half of the amount of water used by Talent Irrigation District in one irrigation season. The loss of this amount of water would be devastating to the District and would severely impact livability in the Rogue Basin by reducing stream flows throughout the Basin. The following are just some of the water uses that would be impacted: parks, schools, golf courses, municipal supplies for some cities, as well as agricultural employment, agricultural production and yields, etc.
It appears that the filers of the 60-day Notice of Intent want to transfer Fourmile Lake, Howard Prairie and Hyatt Lake water back to the Klamath Basin and divert what they feel they need down Jenny Creek to improve the water situation in the Klamath River. The 30,000 acre-feet of water is a very small amount over the scope of the needs in the Klamath River and will do little to relieve the water problems. In addition, the 30,000 acre-feet of water is not available when the water is needed in the Klamath River. The water is only available during the spring runoff season and without the use of the lakes for storing the water, it will run down the Klamath River earlier than it is needed.
The Rogue Basin irrigation districts are taking this proceeding as a serious threat to our water supply. TID, together with MID and RRVID, are in the process of forming an Irrigation District Steering Committee (IDSC) to look into, and be proactive in the protection of our water supply and the future of agriculture in the Rogue Basin. By coming together and pooling our resources we hope to minimize the cost to all District patrons. It is also the hope of the IDSC to gather support from other affected agencies and individuals in addition to the water users of the three irrigation districts. The IDSC is planning to setup a tax-deductible fund that anyone can contribute to. In addition, the District water users should be aware that it may become necessary for the District to begin charging a special legal defense fee to help protect our water rights.
MONTHLY DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS
The regular board meetings of the Board of Directors of Talent Irrigation District are held at 1:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the District office at 104 Valley View Avenue, Talent, Oregon 97540, unless there is a time conflict and the board meeting needs to be changed. If you would like to be on the agenda to address the Board of Directors please submit your request in writing, and include the topic you wish to discuss with the Board, at least one week prior to the meeting date so that you can be placed on the agenda.
UPDATE ON THE WATER FOR IRRIGATION STREAMS & ECONOMY (WISE) FORMERLY CALLED THE LITTLE BUTTE/BEAR CREEK WATER MANAGEMENT PROJECT (LB/BC WMP) AND THE IPOD PROJECT– SUBMITTED FOR THE NEWSLETTER BY STEVE MASON, PROJECT COORDINATOR
The WISE Project is still moving forward
In the six months since the last update of the Little Butte Bear Creek Water Management Project in the Fall TID Newsletter, much has happened, including a new name for the project. As of March 2003, the project is known as the Water for Irrigation, Streams and Economy Project, or more simply the WISE Project. The name was changed to better reflect the goals of the project as well as for ease of conversation.
The planning phase of the WISE Project is moving forward at a swift pace. The City of Medford received a federal grant through the current VA HUD bill for almost one million dollars. This money, with the matching funds provided by the project partners, will be used to fund the necessary Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement FS/EIS). The goal is to have a consultant hired by the summer to begin working on the FS/EIS phase that will take between eighteen to thirty months to complete.
An additional grant was obtained through the Resource Advisory Committee for almost $90,000 of Title II funds. This grant is specifically for the education and outreach component of the WISE Project. Of particular importance is demonstrating the Council value of using reclaimed water for agricultural purposes and determining the potential for improving on-farm irrigation efficiencies if a gravity pressure system is developed.
The goals of the WISE Project are to improve flows and water quality in the Bear Creek and Little Butte Creek basins while at the same time improving the delivery efficiencies of the local irrigation districts (TID, MID, RRVID). These goals are important to the residents of the Rogue Valley, especially in light of the continuing developments in the Klamath Basin. Modernizing the delivery infrastructure of the irrigation districts will conserve a significant amount of water while providing improved management capabilities and all but eliminating issues such as controlling moss and algae in the canal systems.
Through the FS/EIS it will be determined to what extent these goals can be met, as well as the overall cost of implementation. The WISE Project Advisory Committee will continue to work to improve the alternatives that have been developed in order to make sure that the needs and interests of all the stakeholders in the Rogue Valley are being considered. If you have any questions regarding the WISE Project, please contact your irrigation District Manager or Steve Mason, the WISE Project Coordinator (951-0854).
Project Members: City of Medford, Medford Water Commission, Talent Irrigation District, Medford Irrigation District, Rogue River Valley Irrigation District, Jackson County Farm Bureau, Jackson County Soil & Water Conservation District, Bear Creek Watershed Council, Little Butte Creek Watershed Council, Bear Creek Corporation, Oregon Water Trust, Waterwatch, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Oregon Water Resources Department, Rogue Basin Coordinating Council, Rogue Valley Council of Governments and the Bureau of Reclamation.
CANAL AND CANAL ROAD MAINTENANCE, RIGHT-OF-WAYS AND STRUCTURAL CROSSING PERMITS
Those of you who own property along the main canal are well aware of the maintenance that has to take place on a regular basis. Each spring before water is in the canal, we have to clean the silt and vegetation from within the prism of the canal. We typically remove these materials and place them on the edge of the roadway to dry. At a later date, we then grade these materials back across the canal road or use them to level the road from damage caused by human and animal traffic during wet weather conditions. The District’s easements and right-of-ways are for District access, operation and maintenance only. They are not public right-of-ways. Entrance onto these easements may constitute trespassing on the underlying landowner’s property.
The District has been mowing the canal banks at least once during the season to keep District access open and to prevent fire danger. We have also incorporated flail mowers to mount on our excavator to mow blackberries and brush along our right-of-ways.
In the late 1950’s during the Talent Project development, all of the District’s canals, laterals and easements, (exclusive of the McDonald System) were quit claimed to the United States Bureau of Reclamation. This among other things gave the federal government an easement interest in the Districts’ facilities. In the event you need or want to cross the District’s canals, laterals, easements, etc., with a fence, bridge, pipe, or construct anything around the District’s facilities you will need to acquire a crossing permit from the United States Bureau of Reclamation. Please contact the District office well in advance of the proposed project so that the paperwork can be completed and sent to the United States Bureau of Reclamation in Bend, Oregon along with the required fees.
RECLAMATION REFORM ACT
Because Federal funds of the Bureau of Reclamation were used to finance the reconstruction of the Talent Irrigation District in the late 50’s and early 60’s, the Reclamation Reform Act (RRA) applies to the users of water within the Talent Irrigation District. If you own and/or lease property(ies) which irrigate 40.1 acres or more [this side of the Mississippi River] you must comply with the requirements of RRA. If you own, operate or lease 40.1 acres or more and have not filed an RRA form, please contact our office IMMEDIATELY at P.O. Box 467 Talent, Oregon 97540 (104 Valley View Avenue) (541) 535-1529. The Bureau of Reclamation requires that the RRA forms be on file in the District office before water can be delivered to said property.
TALENT IRRIGATION DISTRICT WATER RIGHT TRANSFERS
Now that the “Proof Survey” has been completed, it is possible for individual landowners to transfer water rights within the Talent Irrigation District. The purchasing and selling of water rights and the amount of money being paid for the water rights is a private matter between the water right seller and buyer. All water rights being transferred must be inside the boundary of the District and must be able to be served from the Districts’ existing facilities. Once an agreement has been reached between the seller and the buyer, they each need to file the proper paperwork with the District and pay the applicable fee, which is currently $500 and is non-refundable. The transfer is then submitted to the Board of Directors of the District for preliminary review. If the transfer meets the criteria set by the Board of Directors, the Board will give preliminary approval of the transfer. The transfer is then submitted to the Jackson County Watermaster who reviews the transfer to determine if the transfer will cause injury to any existing water rights. If the Watermaster determines there is no injury, he notifies the District as such. The transfer is then submitted to the Oregon Water Resources Department in Salem and to the Bureau of Reclamation in Boise, Idaho. If for any reason either the Oregon Water Resources Department or the Bureau of Reclamation denies the transfer request, then the District has no choice but to also deny the transfer.
When considering a transfer the Board has many factors to keep in mind. The following are just a few:
- 1) Is the water right valid?
- 2) Does the District have any requests to receive transferred water rights from this source?
- 3) Is the property located within the boundaries of the District?
- 4) Has the property been classified as irrigable by the United States Bureau of Reclamation?
- 5) Is the property considered eligible for water according to the State of Oregon Water Right Certificate?
- 6) Is the transfer in the best interest of the District as a whole?
- 7) Is there capacity in the canal/lateral to serve the property?
- 8) Where will the point of delivery be?
The transfer process for water rights is very involved. If you are interested in obtaining additional information about the process please contact the District office for a Transfer Packet. Please keep in mind that the District does not get involved in the actual selling/purchasing of the water right. The District is only involved in the actual transfer process.
GENERAL WATER CONSERVATION TIPS FOR STRETCHING IRRIGATION WATER FROM THE USDA SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE
Soil can absorb irrigation water only at a given rate, which varies for each soil type. Water requirements vary for different crops. Make sure you apply water to your crop only when needed. Check soil moisture by space, probe, or soil moisture meter, and make careful visual checks of your crops.
If you have a conservation plan on your farm, or if the soil in your area has been mapped, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) can crosscheck soil type and irrigation data and provide you with the water holding capacity of your soil for a given crop. If you don’t know if your soil has been mapped, check with the local NRCS office. Even if the soil has not been mapped, the NRCS can supply you with general information.
Water stretching measures are important to most farmers in the West. To use your available water in the most productive way possible, here is a checklist to help you analyze your irrigation system.
Inspect your system before water starts to flow. Make sure ditches are clean and free from weeds, sediment, or other debris, which can slow water velocity, affect delivery rate and increase evaporation. Consider lining ditches with concrete or plastic. This could avoid the 10-90 percent loss, which often occurs in ditches. Make sure ditch structures like headgates, drop structures, and pipe inlets are strong and functional. A washed-out ditch structure could mean a lot of water lost. Make sure ditch banks are firm and not burrowed into by rodents. Rodent holes could cause leakage or failures. Make sure your pump is operating at peak efficiency. Adequate maintenance will improve efficiency, guard against water loss, and avoid shutdowns.
Make sure nozzles are not worn and leaky. Check pipe connections and valves to prevent leaks. Operate sprinklers at the recommended pressure. Use application rate, efficiency factor and time of application to figure how much to apply. Consider trickle systems for orchards, vineyards, etc. Operate at recommended design values and maintain the filter system.
Measure the amount of water applied to the field. This can indicate when and how much to irrigate. Consider alternate row irrigation for crops planted in furrows. But remember to alternate and “alternate” row in later irrigations. Consider shorter runs if you furrow irrigate. Match stream size and velocity to soil intake rate and capacity. Consider catching and re-using tail water by pumping it back to the head of the system or re-using elsewhere. Irrigate most crops when soil moisture reaches about 50 percent of capacity.
OTHER PLACES FOR INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE
Consult commercial nursery or garden suppliers for plant watering requirements and recommendation. Check with your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office, Conservation District officials, or Cooperative Extension Service office for details concerning your water conservation questions.
Rules To Live By:
- Stay away from siphons and checks
- Say “NO” to playing in or around canals and ditches
- Learn to swim
- Swim with an adult in a safe place like a swimming pool
- If someone does fall in the canal, don’t try to rescue them, get help fast
- Don’t play near water alone
Reason’s To Stay Out Of Canals and Ditches:
- They contain slippery moss, sharp rocks and glass
- Sometimes there are chemicals that can burn your skin, eyes, nose and throat
- There are a lot of hidden underwater dangers such as turbulence or suction, strong enough to rip off a lifejacket!
- All canals and roads are on private property so you are trespassing by being on or in them
- Animals use the canals to drink, eat and go to the bathroom in
Tell your friends and family how dangerous ditches and canals can be. Call the District office immediately if you see someone swimming in the canal.
DISTRICT ELECTION INFORMATION
An election is held on the second Tuesday of each November to elect a board member whose term is expiring. The person receiving the highest number of votes at said election shall be elected, and hold office for three years from the first Tuesday in January next following the election, and until a successor is elected and qualified. In order to qualify as a candidate to run for a board member position, the person must be a resident of Oregon and an owner, or shareholder of a corporate owner, of land within the District. Nominations for a board member position may be made by petition signed by at least 10 electors in the District who are qualified to vote for the director nominated by them. Nomination petitions may be picked up in the District office anytime after September 1st. The District will only accept original nomination petitions, which were handed out by the District. No photocopies of nomination petitions will be accepted. Original nomination petitions must be signed by the person filing the petition and must be notarized. The completed petitions must be returned to the District office and filed with the Secretary of the Board of Directors at least 30 days before the date of the election. Irrigation district elections do not allow any write-in candidates to be elected because a nomination petition must be filed 30 days before the date of the election. No more than one of the electors of a multiple ownership may sign a nominating petition. (This includes husband and wife ownerships.) Where land is owned in multiple ownerships, by an entity, or in a representative capacity, only one person may vote on behalf of such ownership. Voting by proxy is not allowed in irrigation district elections.
An elector or voter in an irrigation district election must have the following qualifications:
- 1) Be 18 years of age or older
- 2) Must own, or be purchasing under contract, land situated within the district and subject to the charges or assessments of the district.
- 3) The person need not reside in the district or in the state.
Any person wishing to run in a board member election should contact the District office after September 1st to obtain a nomination petition.
TID’S NEW WEBSITE ADDRESS IS www.talentid.org
Talent Irrigation District has a new website address and a new format for our web page. If you have access to the Internet you can update yourself on current issues at the District. If you have not visited our web page recently, we encourage you to take a look at it. The format is more user friendly and the site is being updated on a regular basis with new information. The following is a list of items that can be found on the TID web page:
- 1) History of the District
- 2) Listing of Board Members and Staff
- 3) Rules and Regulations
- 4) Current and past newsletters
- 5) Bylaws
If you have any ideas on information that could be added to the site to improve it please let us know. The address of the Web Page is www.talentid.org.
If you have a computer and would like to contact Talent Irrigation District by e-mail, the District’s address is firstname.lastname@example.org
EXPLANATION OF THE IRRIGATION SEASON
The season of use listed on Talent Irrigation District’s water right certificates with the State of Oregon Water Resources Department is from April 1st through October 31st. This is the reason why the District is not allowed to run any water prior to April 1st of each year. TID’s live stream flow rights are not adequate to last the entire season for the entire District. When the stream flow recedes or prior rights regulate TID off, we must go to our storage supply to finish the season.
The Board of Directors makes the final decision on when the water will be shut off at the end of the season. The Board takes into consideration the current reservoir elevations and the type of water situation we are in, whether it be a drought or good water year. If the District is facing a drought or short water year, then the later the season runs in the current year will affect the water supply available for the next year. The less the reservoirs are drawn down in any one year, the more water that is able to be carried over to help the supply for the upcoming year. Therefore, as a rule, the earlier the District can shut down in any given year, the better the water supply will be for the next irrigation season. The District makes water deliveries to all water users on an equal basis. Everyone in the District is allowed 2.65 acre-feet of water per season, if the water is available.
The District has installed several ramps, ramp flumes, meters and assorted measuring devices, etc., to help track the District’s water supply and usage. The District is doing everything it can to regulate the water as efficiently as possible and to stretch the water supply as far as possible.
We would like to thank you for taking the time to read this Newsletter. It is you, the landowner that makes TID a community organization and not just another bureaucracy. As always, the Board welcomes your comments and suggestions.
Board of Directors of Talent Irrigation District
President, Ronald V. Meyer
Vice-President, Brian D. Stringer
Director, Bob Morris